Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus in Pershore
Richard D E Stott
On 11th May 2010 at about 15.00hrs my wife noticed a dead bird on the roof of our house in Defford Road, Pershore. I retrieved the bird from the gutter and was amazed to discover I had what I believed to be a Manx Shearwater in my hand with a severe throat injury. It was still warm although rigor mortis had begun and there was no obvious cause for the bird’s injury.
Subsequent investigation did indeed confirm that this is a record of Manx Shearwater. This is an unusual record so far from the sea and after a period of comparatively calm weather. Careful examination of the bird showed no obvious injuries on its back that might have occurred had it been predated by a falcon or accipiter. However the throat injuries are consistent with an attack by a raptor.
The weight of this individual was right at the bottom of the weight range and therefore it may have been weak and undernourished. Although there is some overlap in middle toe lengths in this species the longer toe exhibited by this individual would tend to indicate that it was a male.
One can speculate that the bird was weakened though exhaustion and then attacked by a raptor which failed in its effort to carry it away and dropped it and by coincidence it landed on the roof of a house. It is believed that Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus are roosting on nearby Pershore Abbey. It is not unknown for Peregrine Falcons to take shearwaters.
Note that full details of this record have been lodged with the Editor and the County Bird Recorder.